eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XXVII | Pages range from 2 to 1050

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
Page 623 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

This being the order of battle, I awaited the signal for the general advance, which was given at about 5 p. m. by the advance of Wilcox's and Perry's brigade, on my right. I immediately order forward my brigade, and attacked the enemy in his strong position on a range of hills running south from the town of Gettysburg. In this advance, I was compelled to pass for more than a mile across an open plain, intersected by numerous post and rail fences, and swept by the enemy's artillery, which was posted along the Emmitsburg road and upon the crest of the heights on McPherson's farm, a little south of Cemetery Hill. In this advance, my brigade was formed in the following order: The Twenty-second Georgia Regiment on the right, the Third Georgia in the ; center, and the Forty-eighth Georgia on the left. The Second Georgia Battalion, which was deployed in front of the whole brigade as skirmishers, was directed to close intervals on the left as soon as the command reached the line of skirmishers, and form upon the left of the brigade. Owing to the impetuosity of the advance and the length of the line occupied by them, the Second Battalion failed to form all its companies upon the left of the brigade, some of them falling into line with other regiments of the command. My men moved steadily forward until reaching within musket range of the Emmitsburg turnpike, when we encountered a strong body of infantry posted under cover of a fence near to and parallel with the road. Just in rear of this line of infantry were the advanced batteries of the enemy, posted along the Emmitsburg turnpike, with a field of fire raking the whole valley below. Just before reaching this position, I had observed that Posey's brigade, on my left, had not advanced, and fearing that, if I proceeded much farther with my left flank entirely unprotected, I might become involved in serious difficulties, I dispatched my aide-de-camp, Captain R. H. Bell, with a message to Major-General Anderson, informing him of my own advance and its extent, and that General Posey had not advanced with his brigade on my left. To this message I received a reply to press on; that Posey had been ordered in on my left, and that he (General Anderson) would reiterate the order. I immediately charged upon the enemy's line, and drove him in great confusion upon his second line, which was formed behind a stone fence, some 100 or more yards in rear of the Emmitsburg turnpike. At this point we captured several pieces of artillery, which the enemy in his haste and confusion was unable to take off the field. Having gained the Emmitsburg turnpike, we again charged upon the enemy, heavily posted behind a stone fence which ran along the abrupt slope of the heights some 150 yards in rear of the pike. Here the enemy made considerable resistance to our farther progress, but was finally forced to retire by the impetuous charge of my command. We were now within less than 100 yards of the crest of the heights, which were lined with artillery, supported by a strong body of infantry, under protection of a stone fence. My men, by a well directed fire, soon drove the cannoneers from their guns, and, leaping over the fence, charged up to the top of the crest, and drove the enemy's infantry into a rocky gorge on the eastern slope of the heights, and some 80 or 100 yards in rear of the enemy's batteries. We were now complete masters of the field, having gained the key, as it were, of the enemy's whole line. Unfortunately, just as we had carried the enemy's last and strongest position, it was dis-


Page 623 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon